There is No Such Thing as Coincidence

I have a story to tell of how I came to learn a life lesson.

THE STORY

This story begins back in 1996 when I was still suffering from a devastating loss.  Finding it difficult to stay at home by myself on the weekends, I often took a road trip to see my mom in North Texas, my aunt in the Dallas metroplex,  or my sister in South Texas.

During one of our long talks on one of the visits to see my Aunt Kathy, I told her something that had happened that I felt was extraordinarily . . . ironic.    What that was I do not recall, but this is what I do remember:

After hearing me tell the tale, punctuated at the end with an exclamation of “Isn’t that strange?” … or “Can you believe it?”, she replied in her gentle way, both calmly and confidently:

“There is no such thing as coincidence.”   

I was confused.  What do you mean, I asked?   She just smiled and repeated the Alice in Wonderland’ish pronouncement.

There's no such thing as coincidence - Living Vintage

You have to understand:  I wasn’t brought up to be a devoutly religious person.  Over the years, I’ve been a faithful churchgoer at times, and I’ve found healing and hope within its walls, but I’ve also found a lot of hurtful criticism and judgment also.

So, I’ve lived most of my life believing that what has happened to me has been the result of free will. That I am directly responsible for my success or failure.   That I will “get there” because of hard work and tenacity and sheer grit.  By gosh.

And success or failure . .  . and the path my life has taken is mostly due to my efforts and sheer happenstance.

Over the years, her calm, confident message has made me look at events that I previously would have viewed as just mere coincidence.

Here are four random examples.

A BELOVED STAINED GLASS WINDOW

the story behind a beloved stained glass window - Living Vintage

I bought this stained glass window about 30 years ago.  It’s one of my favorite things.

After meeting my husband, Mark, I mentioned to him one day how much I loved it.  I told him that I had bought it at a little yellow house on the main drag in Georgetown, Texas that was once an antiques store.

Turns out, he owned and lived in that same little yellow house for years, long before I met him.

ADOPTING OUR SECOND DOG

curious puppy

I had started thinking that we really needed to adopt another dog, and I’d talked with Mark about it a few times.  Our Jack Russell, Kacy, needed a companion, especially when we needed to work away from the house. (She suffers from separation anxiety.)

Several days after I pinned the above image, I woke up one morning to the sound of . . . well, let’s call it forlorn howling.  I’ve never heard such a sound before — I didn’t know what it was.  It certainly didn’t sound like a dog!

Kacy went berserk.  I was home alone — Mark was out of town on photography business — but I had to investigate and once I found the courage, I went outside.

I discovered a very frightened dog (really a 3 month old puppy as we discovered later) hiding in the crawlspace under our house, half starved and with no collar.

I fell in love almost immediately, and we eventually adopted her, naming her Molly.

This is one of the first photos we took of her:  still so scared she wouldn’t look at us, but too hungry to resist the temptation of food, which is how we tricked her into entering the safety of our fenced backyard.

I still look at the photo I pinned and think how much this dog looks so much like Molly.

Our rescue dog, Molly . . . and coincidence    Living Vintage

BUYING OUR OLD DOGTROT

After Mark and I left Austin, we discussed buying a home in a small town or buying in the country.  We weighed the pros and cons and basically flipped a coin, deciding to buy an old house out in the country.  The issue was finding one.  Old houses are plentiful in towns, but they’re relatively difficult to locate outside city limits.

One day in frustration, Mark commented that we ought to just build “a 50′ x 50′ box” and finish it out on the inside they way we wanted.

So, we started looking at land.

Shortly thereafter, our realtor emailed us the listing for our old dogtrot, an old house with a 50′ x 50′ footprint.

Our dogtrot home when we first saw it and how we coincidentally found it - Living Vintage

FINDING A NEW HOME FOR UGLY FURNITURE

This is one of many photos of dormitory furniture that was left in the first house we salvaged in Jacksonville.

the coincidence of finding a new home for ugly furniture - Living Vintage

 I meant to write a post well before we started our project, but honestly I could never make myself do it.  I certainly didn’t want to look at photos of ugly furniture, and I knew you didn’t either.

So, I did the next best thing and started searching for non-profits who needed the furniture.

After sending about two dozen emails or so, a non-profit responded.    Not only were they simply pleased to accept our donation, they were ecstatic and incredibly relieved.

You see, they told us they were just about to spend hundreds of dollars for much needed furniture for their rescue mission.

SO . . . I STILL CALL IT “COINCIDENCE”, BUT . . .

Almost two decades later, I now try to believe it’s fate.  Yes, that’s what I try to do.  I try to believe that there is a plan for each of us, and I just have to trust in that plan.

There is No Such Thing as Coincidence - Living Vintagevia

And it’s easier said than done, at least for me.

There is No Such Thing as Coincidence - Living Vintagevia

So that’s one of the things I’ve learned.

What has happened in your life that you call “coincidence”?  I’d love to know.

Email me privately if you wish.  I’d like to do another post of your unique coincidences.

Kim signature

Comments

  1. I firmly believe that God shows us that He is working in our lives, if we just open our eyes to see it. Sometimes we are blinded, but, he is there all the time. There have been several of these instances recently in my daughter’s life. She graduated with an accounting degree, but because of insecurity, never pursued an accounting internship and therefore, a job. Through a series of “coincidental” events, she has just been offered an accounting position in the office she manages. It’s a perfect place for her to transition into the scary world of accounting. I know that God had his hand in the whole process. Blessing for you today!

    • How ironic . . . and coincidental? I have two accounting degrees as well. Good luck to your daughter! Accounting is a great field to get into. What’s that old saying? Something to the effect of two things you can count on: death and taxes. Blessings to you also, Karen.

  2. I LOVED you sharing your story…sounds like God’s eye has not only been on the sparrow, but you too. May He hold you in the palm of His hand forever. Thank you for sharing your walk of faith.
    hugs!

  3. marilyn says:

    Loved this post.
    Uncanny how much Molly looks like the picture you found !

  4. My daughter was upset that she was not told that she had to take a class before she could do her student teaching so had to take an extra semester of school. She had to do her student teaching in the Fall instead of the Spring. There was a lot of moaning and groaning going on…
    As a result she subbed as an Orchestra Teacher for a woman who left on maternity leave in the Spring. The woman decided not to come back so my daughter got the job and has been there since. Initially she was so bummed out to have to go to school longer but now she gives thanks for the blessing she received. In this case she felt bad that she didn’t TRUST her cirumstances into the hands of a good God. But God knows our silly selves and sends blessings along anyway. We just need to trust Him when things don’t seem right and it will all work out in the end. Jesus said,”Trust in God, trust also in me!” He is worthy of our trust.
    Loved your story and your Aunt! (: Blessings to you always.

  5. It’s all about faith. He gives me the very breath I breathe….can’t he orchestrate my life? Simply pray, “Lord, make me willing to be willing”. He has a path and blessings for me; I don’t want to miss them.
    Virtual hug,
    Sarah

  6. Stephanie says:

    I tend to call it serendipity when it relates to happy or positive things and fate when it’s sad or negative things. Guess it’s all the same though…serendipity just sounds happier! :)

    • That’s why I think we have so many words in English that pretty much mean the same thing! I agree that serendipity does sound happier than fate.

  7. I was 20 and worked at the Public Library in San Antonio. I was asked to relieve at the circulation dept for lunch when I began to check out some books for a certain young man. The address on his library card was only 2 blocks from my home but we had never met. He was 4 yrs older than me and had just gotten out of the service. When I got home that evening he was waiting for me and asked me to go to a party as it was Halloween. Told him no that my boyfriend (of 2 years) was picking me up in an hour. Well he was very determined and within 2 weeks we were going together. We married 5 months later and had the most wonderful 42 years together. Unfortunately he became ill and the good Lord took him 2 yrs ago. I have such beautiful memories and up until the end we were still in love, kissing and holding hands all the time. We were blessed with a son and daughter and 3 grandchildren who are my life now. Was it coincidence…….I think not. I firmly believe that God put our paths to cross that day so long ago and I have never regretted that fateful day. God Bless you

  8. I too believe that everything happens for a reason. The hard part may not even be a reason for you, but for someone else. I have found the more people find out you believe this about life, the more people you meet who feel the same way. I have had several things happen to me that just cement this to me. My husband had this happen to him once. He and a co-worker happened to be in a court house working, while on break they were walking the halls and happened to comment how much they liked the paintings on the wall. It just so happened that the artists was walking behind them and happened to hear this and thanked them. While out to dinner with my husband and children one night I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in 5 or 6 years, I believe she needed to see me to make a decision about her life, this conclusion was come upon because of all the different circumstances that had to have happened at just the right moment for us to run into each other, tickets dropped that my husband found, deciding to go to this restaurant that we have never been to on that very night. The threads of life coming together. There is a Chinese proverb; that an invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread my stretch or tangle, but it will never break. This piece …. The string knots, twists, and stretches, but is never broken. If I feel a certain feeling that I need to go a certain way I always follow my gut feeling, I never know what may come across my path or whose path I am destined to cross.

  9. Well, just this past Sunday – day before yesterday – I decided that I was going to go to church. My wife and I have been attending a church an hour and a half away and she was out of town visiting her daughter and grandson so it meant making the drive just for myself. I went anyway. I had a brand new T shirt – bright peach/pink. ( My wife and I had enjoyed wearing matching colors like that some six years ago when we were just married and so we had just recently found them online and ordered them. ) Well, I arrived about a half hour late, but Praise and Worship was still loud and strong! I like to stand or sit at the back of the sanctuary and roam around some…. it is interesting how different is seems in different places in the sanctuary and how firmly entrenched we want “our spot” once we “find it”. The Pastor began his message for us and at one point asked that we stand and hold hands with one or two or more folks to pray. This fellow that almost always sits just one row back from the front row looks back and motions for me to join the little circle that he is part of … my mother-in-law is part of the circle also. And we pray. As we let go of each other’s hands he leans over – I’m pretty short and he is pretty tall – and says, “Our shirts!” ( He is wearing a T shirt exactly the same color. ) I replied, ” Yes, we are brothers ! ” Well, Chris is one of those folks that other folks look up to as an example of someone really living by faith. He has a right arm that he has no use of and is very atrophied. An accident caused nerve damage some years ago. A thought that I had not had before came to me, “We all have a withered right arm and just don’t realize it.” We all need God’s guidance and direction just as much as Chris. We all have hindrances and chains of fears of all different kinds that we carry with us. So, was it a coincidence that the two of us both wore the same color shirt that day? I don’t think so. There was a lesson for me to learn a little more deeply that I had learned before. ( The Pastor’s message was about how the “Process” of “Progress” is often not what we expect at all and it is often not very convenient or comfortable. )

  10. I have been trying for months to figure out how to tell this twisty coincidence story in such a way that folks can follow it…

    We have a bazillion unfinished projects. My husband is at wit’s end because he can’t keep up. We weren’t planning to tear down the huge barn that belonged to my parents, on an unused farm 50 miles away. But, out of the blue, someone showed up at my dad’s door – saying they would take down the barn, clean up the mess and PAY him for the wood. There was one massive beam in the barn – I later learned it’s called a “swing beam”. We knew it was special because it’s so incredibly thick and huge. Dad called me and asked for an answer – did I want the big beam? I said “No.” but deferred to my (insane) husband, who over-rode me and said “Yes”.

    Dad went back to the guy who was trying to buy the barn – told him he could have the whole thing, except the swing beam. That nixed the deal. Apparently that beam is valuable. I was relieved – I thought we could just continue on as we were, and the barn could remain standing right where it was for the time being. But, my dad is not one to let projects languish. Once he gets something in his head, he acts on it, and so requested that the barn be taken down as soon as possible.

    Sooooo – pieces fall together and we magically somehow are able to rent the barn across from our house to store the beams in. (this is a whole ‘nother story in itself, how that happened). We hire an Amish crew to help raze the old barn at my parents’. I am overwhelmed and horrified at the scope of the project, coupled with the fact that we had NO PLAN whatsoever for the materials we were dragging home.

    One of the workers mentioned that his cousin? (all these Amish guys are related and most of them have the last name; Schwartz) worked for a company that repurposed barn beams in upscale houses. I pounced on that information – got his contact info – and later we called him. Turns out he is a partner here http://www.timelessbarncompany.com/

    We arranged for them to meet with us, look at our materials, and give us a price to finish the house using the barn wood. Two years ago they show up here to look at the beams. Johnny remarks to partner Dean; “I know where there’s a swing beam like that.” – to make a long story short, Johnny was the one who originally approached my dad to buy the barn. And the swing beam he was referring to, was exactly the one sitting in front of him. Now, here in Indiana, there are thousands of old barns. So the idea that this would all fall together like it did is pretty bizarre as there is considerable distance between all the characters in the story here. It’s not like we are all located in the same county. We are spread out across the whole north central portion of the state.

    Eventually, we would make a deal with TBC to come and make our room “amazing” – the angst AND the wonder of this project would inspire the creation of my blog, where I have found catharsis in sharing the stories. The razing of the old barn is here https://ginakeesling.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/tell-them-that-we-will-take-it-a-chapter-of-my-stubborn-valentine/
    Subsequent stories are here https://ginakeesling.wordpress.com/

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